Michelle Laws “Unbought and Unbossed”
A Courageous, Committed, and Compassionate Leader with New Vision for North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District
Hi, my name is Michelle Laws and I am asking for your vote and support to help me win the May primary as the Democratic candidate to serve in Congress representing North Carolina’s 4th congressional district which includes Wake County, Orange County and a portion of Durham County.
I am a native of Chapel Hill and grew up in the thriving Black community we affectionately refer to as the Northside community including in one of Chapel Hill’s public housing communities. Dating back to my humble upbringing born to a young single mother and reared under the guidance of several strong, God fearing, and community serving Black women—including my grandmother, great-grandmother and great Aunt—I was taught several important lessons that have shaped my political and social ideologies: give more than you take and never give out of self-serving motives; be merciful and graceful treating others the way you want to be treated recognizing that God our Creator has no respect of persons; be courageous and if favored in a position of leadership lead with integrity, humility, and compassion; and when there is enough love there is always enough room. Grit and determination to work hard and succeed against all odds and getting up when knocked down are characteristics embedded in my DNA.
My first engagement in social justice and standing up for the rights of the poor occurred when I was age ten and my grandmother, who was a member of the Chapel Hill Public Housing Residents Council put me out front to request new playground equipment for children living in public housing. I was so proud of myself and amazed at how impressed people were about my public speaking ability at such a young age. That experience put a fire in my belly that has been burning ever since.
My activism later expanded from childhood into my undergraduate years at UNC-Chapel Hill where I was among the student activists advocating for a freestanding black cultural center at UNC and helped to organize UNC students to wear green ribbons at a court trial in support of Keith Edwards, UNC’s first black female police officer.
Service, compassion, and moral conviction are core ideologies and principles that will guide me when elected to serve as the next Congresswoman for NC 4th District. I love this country. I love this District. I love calling North Carolina home—the state of my birth. But look we are at a serious and perilous period in our nation’s history. We have two more years of the current president’s administration. During those two years, I will go to Congress as a servant leader representing the people of NC in District 4. I will go with a moral compass set towards justice, loving mercy and walking humbly. I will go with a clear vision and understanding that as Frederick Douglass once stated: “power concedes nothing without a demand” and we must demand the current Executive and Legislative branches of our government rise up, do and be better. I will go with a conviction that we all belong in this great nation and there is room in the proverbial inn for us all and we all belong. Whether we are here by birth or by choice—America is great not because of a select few privileged by pedigree or position, but by an beautiful, creative and industrious diverse mass of people who speak different languages, practice different faiths, possess different skin color but who share one commonality—love for the USA and belief that the American dream is possible for all to experience.
I have spent my entire career fighting for vulnerable, ignored and forgotten population’s especially poor and working-class women and children and those whom Derrick Bell labeled as ‘the faces at the bottom of the well’ and I am now ready to stand and lead the same fight in Washington.
I am asking for your vote on May 8 as your candidate of choice during the primary.
I have the fortitude, temperament, courage, and intellectual acumen to be a force of reckoning in the political arena as a political strategist and policy analysist and developer. I am a skilled and prudent negotiator, with a keen discernment for truth. My training and natural instinct I approach most things through critical analytics. I am a problem solver who rarely gives up easily. And I am highly skilled at not only analyzing public policy but creating it as well—skills that I developed in multiple positions throughout my career including as the campaign press secretary for former Congressman Albert R. Wynn (Md-4th) and legislative liaison for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, where she garnered the support for the department’s policies and budget from both Democrats and Republicans. I attribute much of her political prowess to her Godmother, the late Senator Jeanne Lucas, the first black woman to serve in the North Carolina senate.
Professionally, I am the assistant director for a local community health organization; an adjunct professor at an HBCU in North Carolina. My distinguished professional career also includes serving as the former Executive Director of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP (2014-2016); a college adjunct professor where I taught undergraduate sociology courses at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University and in federal and state prisons; legislative liaison for the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. My skills as a community organizer and political strategist proved useful when I relocated for a few years to the Washington DC-Maryland area and became engaged with Maryland and Washington DC politics including landing a job as the campaign press secretary for former Congressman Albert R. Wynn (Md-4th) and a campaign organizer for Lafayette Barnes for DC City Council.
My faith is my foundation and calibrates the compass for which my actions are guided and life’s course is directed. I am an ordained associate minister at Union Baptist Church in Durham NC where I served under the leadership of my senior pastor, Rev. Prince Rainey Rivers.
My mother instilled in me early on the extreme value and importance of an education, therefore I was driven to pursue and obtain the highest degree possible in areas of interest. I hold a BA degree in Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a MA degree in Sociology from North Carolina Central University (Magna Cum Laude graduate) and a PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Department of Health Behavior and Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (Phi Kappa Phi honor inductee).
I am asking for your vote on May 8 as your candidate of choice during the primary. I am also asking for your support and contribution to my campaign.
See more photos of Michelle’s career and 2018 campaign for Congress.
Why am I running? Why am I competing against Democratic Party establishment candidate? Why not wait my turn?
- I am running because we are experiencing in America dark and scary days driven by the actions of tyrannical elected officials who are more interested in dividing American and splitting asunder the cornerstones of its foundation. We need leaders in Washington who don’t remain silent and who are not asleep at the wheel but who are boldly and courageously, incisively and energetically fighting to save America and leading with a moral compass guiding the way.
- I am running because I agree with the declaration of one of my sheros the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm who said that “You don’t make progress by sitting on the sidelines whimpering and complaining.” As a Black woman who has paid her dues to the Democratic Party along with hundreds of thousands of other Black women, I refuse to sit on the side lines.
- I am running because history will judge us not based on as Dr. King said the “words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” And as Edmund Burke, 18th Century Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- And I am running because I believe we are Stronger Standing Together and that with the right people in leadership in Congress we can create a more perfect union and re-illuminate our light in the world as “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
- I am running because Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel warned “there are perils associated with indifference and when the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil there are inescapable moral and metaphysical consequences.” And I add often those who suffer the most are children, women, the poor and immigrants. And when hatred rears its ugly head you fight it, you denounce it you disarm it you eradicate it.
- I am running so that children and adolescents who are living in communities like the ones I grew up in will know that poverty is not a disability and your environment doesn’t define who you are nor is it strong enough to keep out your dreams. So it won’t matter whether you live in Chavis Heights or Walnut Terrace in Raleigh; Pritchard or South Estes in Chapel Hill or McDougal Terrace or Damar Court in Durham—your dreams and goals are still worth striving for and the same sky that possesses billions of stars for which you can shoot that covers communities in more economically affluent neighborhoods covers yours.
- I am running not to preserve the status quo of my party but to represent and fight for the people of my district. I am running because there is a mighty mandate and movement among the people that demands bold, courageous action, innovative thinking and fresh vision to lead us to higher ground on all fronts be it politically, socially, and economically. I know this mandate and movement all too well. It is made up of hard working people who love this country but who feel shafted, marginalized, and left behind—by both political parties. I am running to stand up to elevate their voices among the noise and distractions of futility that is currently pervasive in Washington.